Life is said to have its ups and downs, but my life has been full of ups lately. My husband earned a promotion, and his salary tripled, for one. It allowed us to open the pastry shop that I always wanted to have but never had the money for until now. We also found the perfect location for it in the city, and many potential customers were already flocking down the site even when it’s still under construction.
The thing is, my husband and I wanted to turn it into a family business. Instead of hiring strangers, we would hire brothers, sisters, cousins, and other relatives to take on various tasks in the pastry shop. But before we did that, a close friend informed us about the critical steps to having a successful family business.
Know Your Roles
From the get-go, you should figure out your roles in the business. For instance, Dad can be the CEO; Mom can be the COO; big brother can be the operations manager. In a small-scale setting, decide who will operate the register, greet the guests, assist the customers, and arrange the stocks in the back, among others.
It is a vital step that gets skipped by families, considering they don’t want to impose labels on relatives. However, you are no charity worker — you have a real business that you have to invest real money on. Without specific roles, some may feel like they can do whatever they want.
Separate Business And Personal Life
The second step is to set a clear line between your business and personal life. Simply put, any dispute that takes place at home should be left at home. When you see each other at work, you need to stay professional and set aside your problems.
Many businesses have gone down because of the family members who work in the company have had a full-on fight in front of their customers. Doing so reduces the business’s value and appeal, considering people will worry about another brawl will ensue anytime.
Contracts are a must in every company. These are legal documents that state a person’s position in the business, working hours, salary, and various stipulations. In truth, even contractual workers need to sign one since it can protect both the employer and employee from disputes later.
If you want to hire family members for your business, you should make a contract for everyone, too. Many don’t realize its necessity in the beginning since you’re all still chummy. Unfortunately, when feelings get hurt along the way, it shows the need for a contract, especially if the relative you end up letting go takes drastic measures to bring you down.
Being closely related to one another does not mean that you can trust everyone to be honest with you. Try not to get offended by this statement—you know it’s true. Some may be hiding issues that they have caused; others may change up the books, which is an absolute no-no.
To avoid such things, you should schedule weekly or bi-weekly meetings with the family in the office. Ask every member of the team to present some documents to you that show the business’s progress. On your part, make sure that you can determine any discrepancies on the paper. If you find any, deal with the relative like you would with other employees.
At the base of it all, you need to be smart about who you will allow to join your business. Let’s be honest; not every family member has your best interests at heart. Some of them may be jealous of your success and will do anything to see you fall on your butt. If you don’t weed them out early, they may sink their claws into your back without you realizing it.
Now, you should know that saying no to some relatives may cause some conflicts in the family. Say, your aunt, who wanted you to give her heroin addict of a son a job, might stop talking to you or your parents. A cousin with a long record of kleptomania might call you out of social media because you didn’t want her to be a part of your business.
You may reconcile with them outside of work, but be firm about your decision. If your relatives still don’t want to do anything with you, so be it. It’s their loss, after all.
The pastry shop is gaining more customers every day; thank you very much. We have been in business for a few months only, but people from the other side of the town would drive in our area to buy our goods. It was all I could wish for and more.
As for my staff, which consists of relatives, we have not had major problems because we followed the steps mentioned above. Consider doing the same before your business starts.